Sewing Machine Settings – Adjustable Presser Foot Pressure

Sewing machines come with many different settings and features and deciding which are best for the sewing projects that you would like to undertake is an important consideration.

One setting in particular is the presser foot pressure adjustment setting. You may note, for example, that many machines come with adjustable pressure for the presser foot. Other machines have automatic pressure that adjusts automatically to the pressure needs of whatever is placed under the presser feet. This might sound somewhat confusing or even a bit technical but, it’s really not.

Remember that the presser feet hold the fabric against the feed dogs to assist them in moving the fabric along. Presser feet also apply varying amounts of pressure on the fabric to keep it secure as you sew. Lighter fabrics will usually require more pressure than heavier fabrics. The adjustable pressure settings allow you to determine the appropriate amount of pressure to be placed on the fabric. Why is this important? Using the incorrect pressure setting can drastically affect the outcome of your sewing; it can create problems such as skipped, uneven or irregular stitches, fabric puckers or the machine not feeding the fabric properly.

Many times when you encounter these problems with your sewing you may think that there is something wrong with you or something wrong with the machine. You may assume that you need to troubleshoot some other machine problem when what you really need is to just loosen the presser foot pressure setting, depending on how much you are placing under that foot. If the problem is indeed with the pressure setting then doing this can dramatically improve your sewing machine’s performance: fabric will feed evenly and smoothly with perfect stitches and no puckers.

You will need to check your manual for the proper pressure settings on your machine but typically you will use the normal setting for regular sewing and non-stretchy fabrics. Lowering the foot pressure slightly may keep fine fabrics such as chiffon, lace, organdy etc. from puckering. Knits and fabrics with a lot of stretch may also require a lower pressure setting to help maintain the pliability of stretch in the fabric. Typically,however, a lighter setting works best with heavier fabric and lighter fabric such as cotton may need a heavier pressure setting.

Take the time to understand your sewing machine’s pressure adjustment settings and use it to smooth out any problem areas in your project and remember to check your sewing machine manual. With practice and patience you can master it in no time.